Kindle, the Holy Grail of Advertising?

I’d like to take a moment to address the following comment left by Mr. T and heave a sad little sigh:

“Amazon is offering a cheaper kindle with ads. You had to know it was coming, but books with ads just strike me as ridiculous. It’s only a matter of time until commercials are added between chapters.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/technology/12amazon.html

Ugh.  I had not seen this New York Times article yet but I cannot say that I’m too surprised that advertisements have entered the e-reader’s picture, particularly when Amazon involved.  Is nothing sacred?  The dollar, I suppose.  Amazon’s desire to give consumers the lowest price or best deal is one of their driving principles, and flashing ads in their readers’ faces is an easy way to cut costs.  I’ve put my favorite parts in bold.

The Kindle for many people is really a centerpiece of their entertainment, so their level of engagement with the device, and hopefully with the advertisers on it, will be higher,” Mr. Bierley said.

That type of engagement is the holy grail in advertising these days, said Bobby Calder, chairman of the marketing department at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Still, books are one of the last ad-free zones, and by showing ads on an e-reader, Amazon risks alienating some users, he said.

“There’s been research that shows that if you put an ad in an environment where people are highly engaged, that kind of intrusiveness can really backfire,” he said….

“We think the response is going to be really positive because it doesn’t touch the reading experience,” [Mr. Marine] said.

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy the fact that I don’t have to put on blinders when I pick up a book.  I like that I can read only what I want to be reading, rather than what advertisers and marketing companies decree my brain should contemplate. Billboards, buses, magazines, television, radio, movies, anything online–they all bombard you with ads.  Even if you can block out those pop-ups and glossy sales pitches, it is tiring to do so.  Honestly, when I disappear into my books I feel a sense of relief to escape all the hubbub.  The mere presence of ads on the Kindle’s screen has already affected the reading experience, whatever Mr. Marine claims to the contrary.  So, Mr. T., I sincerely hope chapter breaks do not mutate into commercial breaks, but you know what?  They won’t in the printed, bound book I’m reading.

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